Monday, April 16, 2007

Do They Give Olympic Gold Medals for Ending Poverty?

Hurrah! Chicago won the right to compete with other cities around the world to host the 2016 Olympics. What do these cities have in common with Chicago? They all have neighborhoods with high concentrations of poverty and disenfranchised youth. They are all seeking ways to prepare their youth for 21st century jobs and careers.

So I propose that a Gold Medal competition be established to see which city can do the most each year from now until 2016 to build comprehensive, volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs in all of their high poverty neighborhoods, which are funded by the businesses who will get rich off of the Olympics, and who also are pointing fingers at public education because it's not doing enough to prepare low income youth for 21st century jobs and careers.

There could be one winner each year from now till 2016 and a grand prize winner at the 2016 Olympics. Maybe this will become a tradition and will continue until the 2116 Olympics. What would the world look like then as a result of such a focused effort in cities all over the world?

I just wish as many smart and powerful people in Chicago were focusing on the goals of the Tutor/Mentor Connection, as are focusing on getting the Olympic bid.

Where do you start learning about ways to compete for this award? Come to the Tutor/Mentor Leadership Conference on May 17 or 18, which will be held in Chicago. Or visit the T/MC web site and begin to use the links and forums for your own learning and collaboration. You can even take a leadership role now, by using your blogs and your own media and web sites, to point your customers to the conference. Read how the Pew Foundation's Smart Communities blog is pointing their readers to the T/MC conference.

PS: So far there is no Olympic Medal for Best City in ending Poverty. If you'd like to become a sponsor and partner to create such an award, email, or come to the conference.

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